Although Los Angeles isn't a walking city by any means, temptations still abound. It's a city full of beautiful people with beautiful strollers. The eye-candy appeal of watching a svelte, celebrity mom pushing the newest Quinny Buzz or Bugaboo Bee sells the ultimate consumer fantasy. The glamour of the newest stroller exponentially increases when it's considered hot by the hot moms.
I am helpless when confronted with a particularly sharp-turning swivel wheel or one-handed fold. But acknowledging this weakness, and appealing to a higher power or a sympathetic friend whenever these urges strike, have kept from veering from the path to recovery.
I know that I'm not alone in my addiction, and hopefully my experiences can help others out there who are silently struggling with stroller addiction.
Signs of stroller addiction can include any or all of these behaviors. Ask yourself these questions:
If you're having trouble finding storage for all your castoff strollers, this is physical, tangible evidence of stroller abuse. Do find yourself tripping over a stray wheel every time you maneuver in your house or is your backyard/garage/storage shed packed with cobwebby strollers?
Does each new stroller purchase start with a feeling of euphoria and optimism? Thoughts such as, "This time will be different. This stroller is the ONE." Yet in a month's time, when the honeymoon is over, you continue to follow the same destructive pattern of disillusionment which throws you into the handlebars of yet another stroller.
Do you go out of your way to check out other strollers at the store and give them a test ride, even though you don't need one? This may seem like innocent and harmless fun, but who are you kidding? Sampling the wares is the first step to purchasing. Alternatively, checking out a friend's stroller and giving it a test spin is also a dangerous red flag.
Do you habitually flip through baby catalogs, peruse websites, magazines, baby registries or any literature where strollers may be advertised?
Even when you're out pushing your newest trophy stroller, you fantasize about other strollers you encounter.
Do you hang out in playgrounds, parks, jogging trails, baby conventions, and amusement parks where you're likely to see a variety of strollers?
Are you embarrassed by your consumer consumption and all the wasted money on unused strollers?
Do you disguise your roving eye from your friends and family? Do you ever pretend your stroller is broken or sabotage them in order to justify purchasing a new stroller?
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, then chances are you are a stroller addict like me.
One of the most important aspects to recovery is recognizing that finding the mythical perfect stroller is about as futile as finding the perfect mate. No single stroller is going to be perfect and be all things at all times. It's essential to evaluate your lifestyle and to accept that you may need two or three strollers with very specific functions to meet your perambulating needs, instead of chasing after everything with wheels.
A cheap, umbrella stroller for quick errands is a must-have in your stroller rotation. Something lightweight and compact for airports, but not so pricey that you'd be heartbroken if it was damaged or lost. (Check out our Umbrella stroller showdown!)
For longer hauls, that pricey Bubagoo or Peg Perego is the SUV of strollers. Something with adequate sunshade and substantial, shock-absorbing wheels and a fully reclining seat, will keep your little one comfy and preserve your sanity. And depending on your activity level, you may also want a more rugged jogging stroller for hikes and runs. But that's about it. Unlike shoes and handbags, a girl really doesn't need (need being the operative word here) more than two or three strollers in her carefully edited collection. See our High end stroller showdown here.
If anyone out there is struggling with, or watching helplessly as a loved one suffers from stroller addiction, please seek professional help immediately – and confiscate those credit cards!
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